The Duke of Richmond has become a pub so foodie, the bar has cutlery laid out on it. Its owner is Tom Oldroyd, who made his name as chef-director of Polpo and later at restaurant Oldroyd.
And it’s a fun place. Staff are charming and everyone, from the cosy couples to a thirtieth birthday group, seemed to be having a jolly old time. There’s a candle on every table, casting a glow against the two-tone green-and-cream walls. Plus upbeat Diana Ross through the speakers.
What’s less failsafe is the food. There were flashes of brilliance. Like chunky roast squash over a light, almost frothy goat’s curd, with curls of sweet roscoff onions, moreish toasted hazelnuts and the peppery zing of fresh oregano. Then there was a vol-au-vent – something I normally only eat at my mother-in-law’s Christmas party – its rich pastry walls spilling over with heady wild mushrooms and the odd baby leek.
But other dishes lacked finesse. Sardines came with an insufficiently sharp sauce vierge. A salad had too much salt. And a piece of sweet, moist almond cake came with an also-sweet crème anglaise, when the contrast of a tart crème fraîche would have brought out its best. But still, if the DOR’s your local, it’s no doubt a grand old place to hang out.